Barack Obama has lifted to the highest aesthetic level a tradition that has made our country what it is today: Our talent for mistaking a contingent and transitory reality for an eternal truth. We’re like the farmer who keeps milking the cow long after its dead. When a decayed teat slimes off in his hand, he calls it progress.
Take, for example, the Cold War. When World War II ended, the Soviet Union and we were the only two military powers still standing. Our military and industrial leaders looked across the ocean and instead of seeing Josef Stalin they saw a cash cow. I mean, why waste all that military equipment, why send all those scientists back to academia where they would only make trouble, why force prosperous defense industries to cut back? Let the good times roll!
During the war, we had made an exciting discovery. Paranoia is great for crowd control. That great statesman, Arthur Vandenberg nailed it when he told Truman the key to governance in the new world order was to, “scare the hell out of the American people.” Thus, paranoia became part and parcel of the American character. If we weren’t scared of Commies, we were scared of germs and body odor. It was great: everybody conformed; everybody kept their mouths shut.
Obama is clinging to that Cold War mentality even though it’s as irrelevant as a dead cow’s teat. He continues to make it sing; only now the song is in Pashtun instead of Russian. He’s outdoing the Cold Warriors of old. Every time they tried to mess with our civil liberties, the public raised hell. Look at how he continues to trample on them with nary a peep out of the people. The reason is simple: The people who raised the most hell back then were the people who remembered what life was like in a democratic republic. They are dying out. The only thing the Boomers have ever known is the presence of a constant threat. Their greatest fear is a freedom that tolerates diversity. This is the source of their silence.